Post navigation

Prev: (10/18/13) | Next: (10/19/13)

After another summer of crime worries, SPD and community talk Capitol Hill safety

(Images: Nate Leese for CHS)

(Images: Nate Leese for CHS)

Capitol Hill safety and crime around Cal Anderson Park were the topics Thursday night at the park’s Shelterhouse where community members and Seattle police had an open dialogue that ranged from crime horror stories to practical ideas in solving them.

The Capitol Hill Community Council led the night with two group discussions running simultaneously; one with police officers and the other with community members.

“We intend this to be an ongoing discussion,” said Melissa Blankenship, Capitol Hill Community Council treasurer.

Concerns were raised specific to Cal Anderson, but police say things have calmed at the park after a summer spike in crime.

_I3A1282

Officer Brownlee talking at Cal Anderson’s shelterhouse

“Things have died down [at Cal Anderson Park]” said Officer Chris Brownlee noting that seasons are important factors in the levels of crime. Responding to another question on what can be done about dangerous people that hang out in the park Officer Brownlee said not much if they aren’t breaking the law.

One building manager thanked SPD officers for increased patrols around Nagle Place but another woman revealed seeing a serial flasher on the Hill who exposes himself to children. “I have seen it,” she declared. One of the officers in attendance promised to speak with the woman after the meeting to take down details on the matter.

Also noted during the discussion:

  • Park closure times: Michaels Wells of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce said “I would love to talk to the parks department” regarding the park’s closure time of 11 PM and how this can be enforced. Officers noted this is difficult due to the park’s open layout.
  • Summit Slope Park drug use: One resident called the park a “shooting gallery” in regards to intravenous drug use.
  • Sleeping doorways/blocking foot traffic: Seattle Central President Paul Killpatrick asked the officers about people on properties blocking the flow of traffic and sleeping in doorways. The officers noted this was a civil matter and explained the nature of failure to appears sometimes resulting in prosecution — when a warrant is put out for not appearing in court.

    _I3A1284

    Seattle Central President Paul Killpatrick

Across the room Seattle City Council President Sally Clark listened intently to community members while sitting nearby was Boe Oddisey as the group switched to community discussion.

One idea raised was implementing Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) on Capitol Hill that was piloted in the Belltown neighborhood.

The program in a nutshell “cuts out the criminal-justice system and assigns participants to social workers,” according to the Seattle Times. This is done by allowing some people who have committed low-level drug or prostitution crimes to be diverted into drug programs in lieu of arrests, and “That is one community based solution that is on the table,” said Blakenship.

Videographer Chris King posted this report on the night:

Subscribe and support CHS Contributors -- $1/$5/$10 per month

21 thoughts on “After another summer of crime worries, SPD and community talk Capitol Hill safety

  1. I love how everyone in that photo looks extremely skeptical, because that’s how I was feeling reading the SPD response to the complaints. “We can’t enforce the park closing time due to its open nature…We can’t stop people from sleeping in the middle of the sidewalk…We can’t kick dangerous people out the park…but hey, at least it’s cold out, so there aren’t as many of them for us to not be able to do anything about!”

  2. Also, let’s wait until October of next year to sit down and discuss what we’re going to do about the increased crime rate next Summer.

  3. I heartily second the sentiments of all of the commenters previous to mine. This “meeting” seems like yet another in a series of misplaced PR moves by SPD and the Mayor.

  4. Well I think it’s considerate of SPD to finally confirm that they can’t do anything about anything. I knew I wasn’t imagining it.

      • They don’t have more rights, they have the same rights. The lack of enforcement is a practical one, how would you suggest policing and kicking people out of a two block park with little to no actual walls.

        And no, having an armed guard every 5 feet is not cost effective.

        The police have better things to do than kick the homeless person off your sidewalk so they can go and sleep on someone else’s sidewalk who will then also call the police.

    • The city policies and various social programs have attracted the same people we’re complaining about. SPD’s hands are tied because they’ve been accused of being thugs as a whole. The things required to fix the problems are never going to happen in the progressive City of Seattle.

      • With all due respect their hands are not tied. I’ve sued cops and represented cops and Civil Rights Laws on search and seizure and unlawful use of force and Qualified Immunity pretty much go by a National standard. What is effin’ sad is when the ignorant cops catch an attitude toward innocent people as you see in yesterday’s video from a Seattle protest against Bank of America refusing to negotiate with a homeowner in blatant violation of the Federal Consent Decree in the 50-State AG settlement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=keYYu6Ku3rE

        ‘Nuff sed.

      • Nice plug for the video. You’re mixing several situations together to paint the SPD with a broad brush. It unknown from the edited video as to why you were treated with the level of contempt displayed. I can guess, but that’s all it would be is a guess. To me it looked like superhuman self-restraint. The specific situation we are writing about here is that some of your neighbours would like the SPD to somehow remove transients, bums, hobos, protesters, etc. from public spaces and businesses without getting the city tied up in another frivolous lawsuit where the rights of the said transients, bums, hobos, protesters, etc. have been violated by the SPD.

      • Nice plug for the video.
        …..Whatever.

        You’re mixing several situations together to paint the SPD with a broad brush.
        ……No, in point of fact I have made it clear in all of my videos and comments to City Councilor O’Brien at the park in yet another of my videos that “it ain’t easy.” My point is that you cannot stop doing your job out of fear of frivolous lawsuits.

        It unknown from the edited video as to why you were treated with the level of contempt displayed. I can guess, but that’s all it would be is a guess. To me it looked like superhuman self-restraint.

        …….Superhuman self restraint? All I was doing was running a camera and asking valid questions about the chain of title and whether the bank manager had a comment. Superhuman self-restraint or what, like the cop should have throttle me to death or attacked me as he did the Stranger reporter? Nothing key was edited out what you see is what you get.

        The specific situation we are writing about here is that some of your neighbours would like the SPD to somehow remove transients, bums, hobos, protesters, etc. from public spaces and businesses without getting the city tied up in another frivolous lawsuit where the rights of the said transients, bums, hobos, protesters, etc. have been violated by the SPD.
        …….. I have been quite active in these matters and we hosted the SPD in our own apartment building this month, 2 days before our windshield, and that of 19 other cars were shattered. I am aware of the purpose and encourage it but my point remains valid:

        Police should be more focused on real criminals instead of people with cameras, and it is perfectly logical to stich together the monads of police activity to construct a montage. Certainly not all SPD are like that but I never said they are, did I?

  5. Vote — Well-timed comment. Yeah they are feckless. As to the assertion noted by Josie at the Councilor O’Brien visit, as a former law enforcement attorney I cannot buy it. The police are cloaked with qualified immunity to enforce the law, and I can tell you as a Plaintiff’s lawyer it takes A LOT to get past that. As the man says:

    “If the park is closed, the park is closed”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3JhtN7AvFQ

    Peace.

  6. Is Officer Chris Brownlee attempting to lend credence to the belief that the police can see all (note photo with glasses on top of his head)? Perhaps the SPD ought to actually use their glasses as intended so that they can bear witness to the many drug deals that go on in Cal Anderson, regardless of the seasonality of the weather.

  7. Police should be required to be out of their cars and walking a beat in their patrol area. Getting to know the neighborhood, shopkeepers, residents and miscreants alike. Not their whole shift, but 20% isn’t an unreasonable expectation. If they know their neighborhood, and we know who they are, it will reduce crime. Its worked in multiple cities.

  8. Pingback: Two closing-time street robberies reported within minutes on backside of Pike/Pine | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle

  9. Pingback: After another summer of crime worries SPD and community talk Capitol Hill safety | Seattle Safety Alliance